Candidates have no control of spending by PACs
In response to a letter regarding support of Ka’ala Buenconsejo by a political action committee (Letters, July 31). The letter delved into the background of the PAC, Forward Progress, and using a superhuman leap of logic, tagged the source of the PAC’s funding to Monsanto.
In its 2010 Citizens United ruling, the Supreme Court declared that corporations, unions and trade associations could spend as much as they like in election contests. The catch is those political actions must be absolutely independent of the candidate affected by them. Under federal law, PACs are forbidden from even telling a candidate that they are going to get involved in their race. Absolutely no contact is allowed.
This PAC chose to target the West Maui Council race and put their money on Ka’ala. That is purely their choice and not something that the candidate can be held accountable for. We saw a similar case in the 2012 election when now-U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard received massive support from Mainland PACs.
Forward Progress is apparently associated with Pacific Resources Partnership, a Honolulu-based construction trades PAC, which famously libeled former Gov. Ben Cayetano in an ad campaign meant to defend the Honolulu rail project. Their mailings in support of Ka’ala have been positive endorsements, in support of this local-born, family man. Interesting then that the letter writer would incredulously attempt to use these positive ads to connect Ka’ala to Monsanto.